​Coastal Communities – poised for growth

Destinations from around the coast converged this week in Skegness for the Coastal Communities Alliance conference Confabulation 2015.

Representatives trekked from Plymouth to Durham, from Sheppey to East Riding keen to discuss opportunities and challenges facing coastal destinations and share ideas and best practice to help tourism growth.

With the expanding number of Coastal Teams and Coastal Communities Fund projects (including the NCTA) it was extremely useful to come together to hear about each other’s progress and discuss common themes – skills shortages, low wages, industry perceptions, seasonality – but also the enormous opportunities to build coastal tourism for tomorrow.

Delegates were offered a choice of workshops, including our own where we presented an overview of our work but then discussed topics for further research. What emerged clearly is the need for coastal resorts to adapt to reflect today’s holidaymaker. Expectations have changed, those of us working on the coast need to accommodate those demands.

Cross-boundary collaboration particularly for marketing was a further output, with a squeeze on resources we need to think creatively and break down barriers.

As part of our work, we’ll shortly be publishing new research on the Millennials – that all important Under 35 age group who’ll unlock tourism for tomorrow. Where are they going? What do they do on the coast? What kind of holiday are they taking? .

But one theme on which we’re all agreed – we have a stunning product, the natural assets of the coastline are second to none. We need to make sure we’re exploiting those to the full.